PM pledges $10m to childhood plan
The Daily Telegraph (Surry Hills, NSW)

May 16, 2003

THE Federal Government will spend $10 million on early childhood intervention and abuse prevention projects, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Mr Howard made the pledge at the Ngala Family Resource Centre in the Perth suburb of Kensington.

The funds will come from the Government's Stronger Families and Communities Strategy area.

"Today I'm specifically committing $10 million out of that program for projects which are targeted very much to early childhood intervention and prevention," Mr Howard said.

He said there was overwhelming evidence from various reports of the incidence of child abuse.

"And the sad reality is the great bulk of child abuse occurs because of the behaviour of people in the home or very close to the children who are subjected to the abuse," Mr Howard said.

He said $1.2 million of the $10 million would fund a range of new projects to support children and families.

Mr Howard said that money included funding for the support of young Vietnamese parents sponsored by the Wesley Uniting Missions in South Australia; playgroups for children with developmental disabilities, and funds to improve collaboration in child-related research policy and practice.

The remaining $8.8 million of the funds is for initiatives under the National Agenda for Early Childhood that emphasises working with parents to build skills including indigenous children.

"A key part of early intervention, as I understand it, is to improve support for parents who are experiencing stress and to work with them to build their parenting skills," Mr Howard said.

"Today's announcement is not a one-off; we have already made a substantial contribution to protecting young children and promoting their interests."

"As a first step out of that $8.8 million, a million dollars will be provided to the organisation Australians Against Child Abuse."

Further details about those projects would be announced shortly, Mr Howard said.

The Prime Minister is in Perth to welcome home two contingents of troops from service in Iraq.

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